‘Being a model is only a job. Being Catholic is part of your soul’: an interview with Paula Manzanal

Paula Manzanal (Instagram)

Paula Manzanal, a former Miss Peru, may not look like your average Catholic. She has 1.3 million followers on Instagram and can be seen in photos with internet stars like Dan Bilzerian. She is often found in the gossip columns of Britain’s newspapers, thanks to her relationship with television personality Jordan Davies. She is expecting a baby.

I recently asked her some questions about her faith.

Paolo Gambi Paula, do you call yourself a Catholic? Do you go to Mass or pray the rosary?

Paula Manzanal Yes, I consider myself Catholic. A few years ago I used to sing for a big church in Lima. I used to go to Mass every Sunday. In the last few years I admit I haven’t as much, but I pray often at home. I am Catholic, but I didn’t get married before being pregnant like most Catholics expect. And I am strictly against abortion.

PG Have you always been a Catholic or have you found the religion recently?

PM I have always been Catholic. I come from a very religious family, so I grew up as a Catholic.

PG Do you like the Pope? Would you like to meet him?

PM I do like the Pope, like every Catholic person. It would be an honour to meet him.

PG What happened in the first months of your pregnancy?

PM In the second month of pregnancy I had a health emergency due to appendicitis. I was told that if I didn’t get it removed I would have passed away and so would my baby Valentino. The chances of Valentino being alive after surgery were almost zero. They made me sign a paper saying that I was at maximum risk of losing my baby. My heart was destroyed and I broke down in tears. My grandmother, a loyal Catholic who goes to Mass Monday to Sunday, told me, “pray pray and pray. Before you close your eyes in surgery, imagine you are holding Jesus’s hand and ask him to guide you and to be with you while you are having the procedure.” I did so. I prayed as many times as I could and imagined myself holding Jesus’s hand.

PG Did a miracle happen?

PM Yes, it did. Even though it was one of the most painful times of my life, since I wasn’t allowed to take any painkilling medicine due to pregnancy, a few days later I went for a scan and heard my baby’s heart beating. He was alive.

PG Will Valentino be baptised as a Catholic? Will Jordan agree? Will you give him a Catholic education?

PM Valentino will surely be baptised as a Catholic. I believe he is a special angel sent by God to brighten up more than one life on Earth. Jordan will surely agree. He does not follow any religion but he accepts and respects mine. I have attended Catholic schools and a Catholic university. I think we get given the best education. So, yes, Valentino will definitely have a Catholic education.

PG What does it mean to be a Catholic and a supermodel? Do you think there is any contradiction?

PM Being a Catholic and being a supermodel, I think have nothing to do with each other. Being a model is only a job. Being Catholic is part of your soul and education.

PG You have 1.3 million followers on instagram. How do you cope with being a role model for many young people?

PM I love each and every one of my followers. I try always to encourage them to always remain happy and positive. I try to be a motivational coach sometimes too. Especially now that I am expecting a baby, I try to connect with mums in any part of the world and share with them my experience and my faults.